Last season, the Dallas Cowboys had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case next year. Here, we are breaking down the Cowboys 2023 strength of schedule.
The NFL’s 2023 schedule hasn’t been fully released, but we know which teams Big D will face. All that’s left to be determined is the weeks the Cowboys will match up with each opponent.
Like always, Dallas will square off with its NFC East rivals for six total games. The Cowboys will also face the NFC West and AFC East. Then, since the Cowboys finished second in the division, they’ll meet other teams who finished in the same spot.
Here’s who Dallas will face at home (discluding NFC East teams):
- Seattle Seahawks
- New England Patriots
- New York Jets
- Detroit Lions
- Los Angeles Rams
And these are the Cowboys road opponents (discluding NFC East teams):
- Arizona Cardinals
- San Francisco 49ers
- Miami Dolphins
- Buffalo Bills
- Carolina Panthers
- Los Angeles Chargers
What makes Dallas’ schedule so daunting?
Here’s a look at where the Cowboys strength of schedule ranks:
The NFC East was strong last season with three postseason representatives, plus every team finished at or above .500. You’ve got the Eagles (14-3), Giants (9-7-1) and Commanders (8-8-1).
The AFC East wasn’t as dominant as its NFC counterpart, but still had an impressive season. The Bills (13-3) and Dolphins (9-8) both made the playoffs. Even the Patriots (8-9) and Jets (7-10) are teams on the rise with high expectations in 2023.
The NFC West was top heavy with the 49ers (13-4) winning the division title and the Seahawks (9-8) placing second. But the bottom half was weak as the Rams (5-12) and Cardinals (4-13) struggled.
Even the Cowboys second place opponents are tough. You’ve got the Chargers (10-7) in the Kellen Moore revenge game. The Lions (9-8) surged late and narrowly missed a playoff berth. Lucky for Dallas, they also drew the Panthers (7-10) who couldn’t manage to finish above .500 in a terrible division.
Where are the easy wins?
When running down the Cowboys schedule, there are plenty of tough matchups. But a few games are seemingly easy wins.
One of those matchups is against the Cardinals. Arizona fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury and has yet to name his successor. Plus, it’s been rumored that WR DeAndre Hopkins is on the trade block, and QB Kyler Murray will be returning from an offseason ACL surgery.
Another layup win should be the Rams game. Head coach Sean McVay will be returning, but Los Angeles lost a few coaches from his staff. Considering Dallas won by double digits at SoFi Stadium in 2022, hosting the Rams next year will make for an added advantage.
As we mentioned, the Panthers struggled in a putrid division in which not a single team went above .500. Add in the fact that Carolina has a new head coach in Frank Reich, and it’s unclear who the team’s QB will be next season, and this should be an easy victory.
Of course, nobody expected the Cowboys to barely beat the Houston Texans, or to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022. No wins are guaranteed in the NFL, but the teams mentioned above should be the safest bets on the schedule.